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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  December 8, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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generated by a key stone pipe line, they will be fewer than the jobs created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance. get it done. and if not, you know, maybe we'll have a white christmas here in washington. and i look forward to spending a lot of time with you guys between now and the new year. all right, thank you, guys. >> nbc's kelly o'donnell is standing by to talk about what we just witnessed there. chris kristen welker had the final question there. the main reason he came out was to speak about the blocking of the nomination of cordray. he's framing this message about the middle class, this is america's make or break moment, do you think he's framing the
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narrative well enough as pinning the right as the obstructionist do nothing congress? >> with all of this end of year business congress has to get done, a lot of it touches on similar topic areas. when you talk about a controversial appointment to this new consumer financial protection bureau, or getting right at the pocketbooks of the public. that also ties into the payroll tax cut extension which he has been advocating so fiercely over recent days. when you look at the pure politics of this, democrats feel particularly comfortable, maybe more so than all year in trying to advance the goals that they have. when the president talks about putting off his own vacation, that was completely predictable. we knew mrs. obama and two girls and marion robinson would get to hawaii. we always thought it was possible the president would be delayed. republicans here have been in a bit of political trouble because they have some really kind of confusion within their own ranks, and disagreement within
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their own ranks. you have leaders of the republican party who want to see the payroll tax cut extended. others are saying that this is a policy problem, not the right way to go. so the president really has an advantage here in terms of the populism of the moment, to try to hammer away with this. with the calendar in his favor, only another week or so to try to resolve it, he is making the most of these chances to come and pound on congress and make his point. >> kelly o'donnell in washington, d.c. thanks so much. i want to go to my colleague alex wagner, she too is in washington, d.c. as you were watching the president there, there is an interesting question that was framed i think by ed henry from fox news, whether or not we could see cordray come in through a recession appointment and that would be controversial to see the president put him in that way. >> he left the door open and in obama speak it's yeah, get ready for a recess.
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yesterday i coined this richard cordray week and it shows no signs much slowing down. joining me today here in washington former rnc chairman michael steele, sam stein and the washington correspondent for bbc world news mark, katy kay. i think if anything the list of things that congress has to take care of before the end of the year seems to be growing and growing. and i want to talk about a couple of them. we have unemployment benefits and payroll tax extension and keysto keystonepipeline is in the mix and temporary tax bill and defense bill. the thing that strikes me here is not just -- >> all in a week's work. >> you know how fast congress moves. >> if we rewound the clock to december of last year, there
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were -- there was a litany of things on that to do list as well that was the bush era tax cuts, the new start treaty, don't ask, don't tell, the dream act and government spending bill. a lot of those things got taken care of. i wonder what your prognosis sis is for congress actually making it through this list by the end of the year. >> they won't make it through the whole list but the spending bills have to get done. i would guess that a payroll tax cut deal gets done. i'm guessing unemployment insurance does get done. i don't think the keystone pipeline has any chance of getting done because he already hinted he wants to put it off until after the election. it backloads its stuff and when it gets antsy about missing christmas -- >> it's pitiful politics is what it is. the country right now has seen for the last two plus years a legislative body that can't think its way out of an open end
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of a back if both ends are open. they have no clue as to how to really sit down and get the core elements of the nation's business done. why must we always come up to these deadlines this may? it makes no sense. you talk about the american people out there and how they run their businesses and they manage their homes. if we did what congress does, this place would be more dysfunctional than ever, this country would be more dysfunctional than ever. the legislative body has got to understand that right now the thing that is most important is what you touched on, getting the nation's bills paid and making sure when we go into next year we have the opportunity to deal with the things that come at us at a reasonable time. not push everything back because it's political season. >> if we're talking about -- i think all things are fair in love and war but to a certain degree the contention has been that one of main reason things aren't getting done because republicans have tood in the way. in you look at the payroll tax cuts, there's been a lot of back
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and forth about the package they are going to put through the senate and it's been blocked. >> you have to wonder whether president obama isn't thinking, this suits him well when nothing gets done. he's running against congress and he's going to be doing that for the next ten months and that will be the theme of his campaign. the more republicans are seeming to stand in the way of getting things done that the american people want done, it helps him. that's the kind of micropolitics of this. of course everybody is thinking about their votes. it may make sense in the checkerboard of political maneuverings as michael suggested to block things from republican's point of view -- >> i'd take that a step further, you're right, obama does benefit from inaction right now. let's go to december of 2012, that's when the bush tax cuts are expiring and when we have to -- what's the other one? the sequester, the triggers will be there and defense cuts. all he has to do is sit on his hands, don't like that version, give me another one and he gets
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his way. it's been a huge flip-flop from where we were a year ago when he didn't want the bush tax cuts to expire and he was the one searching for a deal or the debt ceiling. >> i think there is a difference compared to the debt ceiling in delgs of 2010 he came out of those negotiations and strengthened in a lot of ways. he did a victory lap before he left for hawaii. he managed -- >> a little bit of something at the end of last year. and that's not where we are right now. i think to your point, the president right now is driving this agenda and it amazes me how in 11 months' time given all of the momentum and energy the republicans had coming out of 2010, wind in their sas and people behind them, sending members to congress to draw bright lines on the ground about spending, to be so out of message, so out of touch with what's really happening in america is amazing to me. and so right now the party is
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back on its heels. internally they have no understanding of how to outmaneuver the president. that's how they look at it, how do we outmaneuver to get outside of this box we put ourselves in. >> i want to play a little sound from his press conference a second ago where he's talking about the payroll tax cut. he is charging and going for the jugular. >> i want to make clear, this is not about me. they shouldn't extend the payroll tax cut for me. they shouldn't extend unemployment insurance for me. this is for 160 million people in 23 days will see their taxes go up if congress doesn't act. >> i mean, he just keeps going and going with the kfrds that something is going to get done. >> he's on the right side -- looking at the kind of zit geist of this election, it was all about big government, the 2010 theme of the election, now we enter into a period where it's about the squeeze middle class.
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obama knows he's on the right side of that political strain of thought and it's extraordinary, michael is right -- >> i would argue it's his policies that squeezed the middle class. that gets back to the point about the messaging here vis a vis the policy right now. the president is driving this train. the question for republicans, they are saying, you don't want to extend it, well, when you do finally put it back in place, is that a tax increase for the democrats or what? so the democrats will act like we're never going to reinstate the payroll tax. we know and they know they are. but rhetorically it works for them to make -- >> hold on. if temporary tax cuts are a problem, i think we would have to go back to the bush tax cuts passed on a temporary basis. is that a republican tax? second -- >> as alex pointed out the
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republicans, there are many quotes saying they support the payroll tax. suddenly now they are concerned about the solvency of social security and it's a big issue for them. how do you go home for christmas if you're a lawmaker and say, sorry, your paycheck is going to go up 1,000 to $1,500 because we couldn't get our act together? that's a tough -- >> this is a conversation -- >> it comes at this point was they are going to reinstate the payroll. >> and certainly the back and forth is a message war and we'll continue to talk about it after the break. coming up gop king leaders messing with they are centers and newt gingrich is trying to find a crown big enough for his head. ♪
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newt gingrich is rapidly picking up steam in early primary states and beyond. we are constantly given a barrage of polling data but the stuff that's come out in the last 24 hours paints a compelling picture. a new poll finds gingrich with big leads over romney in three swing states, 35% in florida and 14% in pennsylvania and new time cnn poll shows newt with double digit leads, in iowa, south carolina and new hampshire. it over for romney? >> no. >> why not? >> because each of these polls can be variable, particularly the iowa one where two-thirds of caucus-goers are saying they have the potential to change their mind.
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the support is not particularly deep. it suggests that people are still ready to have a switch of plan. he could still stumble in iowa and go into new hampshire weaker so clearly it's not over romney has the money and has the capacity and it could end in three states but it could also go much further than that. the more interesting polls in the last couple of days for mitt romney have been the ones showing the quinn pea yak poll showing he's losing to newt in the match against obama. that's a problem for him. part of his picture is he's the guy to be more electable. to the extent they don't want to go after newt really hard, what they want to keep doing, pushing i'm the guy that can get us in the white house. >> you had the surrogate call this morning, we don't know if gingrich -- >> it's not really hard, laying off on some issues. >> sure, fine, but you know, there is sort of hints that he is bomb bass tick, which is he
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is and he doesn't have the best interest of the party at heart. and then we're just begging that a super pack aligned with mitt romney will put $3.1 million into iowa ads. i'm curious what you think, romney for a while, 22 to 25%, he'll build from there. now i don't think we've seen a poll in weeks that shows him getting above high 20s, that the ceiling? >> therein lies his problem. the brother can't bake the cake. it's not -- no one is buying it. and -- >> that's the first time romney has been called -- >> and probably the last. >> does that mean newt is rising because people like newt or solely -- >> that's the key thing. a lot of folks in the political and media intelligence ya don't want to wrap their heads around that newt gingrich has changed, moved with a lot of folks since
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he left office. a lot of folks talk about newt as he were still the speaker, put him in that context. >> he says stuff that is so outrageous. >> a lot of people get that about him. they have baked that into their storeline about him. they are generally comfortable with some of the things he says. while you may react, what a scanned house thing to say, they are like, okay -- >> child labor and heavy mining industries -- >> is it getting an applause line to the groups he's talking to you? is he talking to you? >> the nominating and in general, very different. >> i think with romney, they both have flip-flop problems but with romney, the idea is he went from being a moderate to a conservative trying to make a presidential bid. with gingrich, it's like this guy has crazy ideas coming left and right. for republican voters they have a lot more problem with romney because they think it's calculated. with gingrich they think it's part of his personality.
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>> he's thought through -- >> you can flip-flop, it's just how you handle. >> you can be crazy, just can't flip-flop. >> gingrich has flip-flopped -- >> watching him would agree with you and they connect with him on a very personal level. they like the redemption story. they like the fact he's a fighter. they like intellectually he can go toe to toe with barack obama. all of these things are getting baked into his narrative which is why see the numbers translating when people are paying attention. >> a lot of baking metaphors. i have to ask -- there are so many questions but we'll talk more about this after the break and we'll get the latest on the fast and furious scandal. and later in the hour, has the morning after contraceptive become a political pill for president obama. rachel weeks, ceo of school
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he is a typical, cynical, chicago ward politician. who runs for office and promises everything and then comes to office and disappoints. their anger is rooted in the fact that they believed in this hope and change garbage, that they were sold three years ago by this president. >> that was chris christie, playing the role of attack dog. we look at the field of candidates and there have been some endorsement and not been others, who is the king maker in the gop? is it you? >> yeah, right. we saw how well that worked out. >> you know, having someone like chris christie and how much do these endorsements matter and is there somebody who truly holds the sector. we have donald trump entering from stage left. >> you have a lot of carables coming into play but
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endorsements do help because they bring with them some money and notoriety and this cycle is different. there's a different feel to it from the very beginning. this was designed to really allow people who don't have big name and don't have big endorsements and don't have a lot of money to still be in the play. that's what we're seeing happening right now. the voters out there are saying, you know what, we're the ones in control. it's not karl rove or mitt romney or the establishment, we're the ones who are going to decide who the nominees will be for good or bad. they get the bottom line is to defeat obama. they want to do it in a way in which the person that goes into the white house in january of 2013 at least understands fundamentally the principles they should be guided by. that's what's moving a lot of these players which gives someone like ron paul a fighting chance. >> jon huntsman. >> still in this primary process. >> with gingrich in particular,
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you have folks on the establishment side who really really don't like him in congress and there's a lot of talk of boehner and to what agree that matters and you're saying it kind of doesn't, newt gingrich can run as someone outside of both -- >> he can run as an outsider of the establishment having been rejected by the establishment. isn't that ironic? >> kind of funny. >> that's the crazedy time we're in. >> everyone accepts the fact his '94 doesn't like him. it works great for him, washington doesn't like me. that's the best sell you can make. >> you were saying earlier, it's all baked into the cake and people know them and therefore sort of discounted. i wonder when -- let's say he does get the nomination and the country starts focusing on newt gingrich and the possibility he says more things that get him attention. >> inevitability i would say. >> the filter between az brain and mouth doesn't work well.
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i think independent voters will still have a problem with the flip-flopping he's done. >> some with. >> many issues practically as mitt romney has on the more extreme things he said and his style and arrogance, i'm not sure that that's not something that independent voters will look at and say, i'm not sure this is -- really -- >> i think you're right, i think some of that will be a factor for some of those voters. i think the more salient point of what you said that the newt team and voters out there will be watching for and you touched on it, ye of little faith, that newt somehow will trip over his own message, his own effort here. that's the greater risk. newt -- i would suspect is less concerned about bombastic tirades from capitol hill and folks out there who have it in for him than he is more concerned about making sure that he stays focused like a laser on the prize and take the steps in
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a slow and steady way. >> and you've got establishment members of the republican party at the moment freaking out in washington. >> i love it. isn't it great? >> they are saying things, like when is the base going to get real about this? when are they going to get serious? >> they are getting real but the thing that will trip over newt may not be the bombastic statements but he is still not taking this all that seriously. on friday, he's going to be at a newsstand in union station in washington, d.c. hawking a book. >> he was at staten island yesterday doing another book signing and iowa is weeks away. >> i get it's an unconventional campaign -- and to research the greek debt crisis. i get those two things. >> all important stuff by the way. >> at some point doesn't he have to say okay, i have a chance to win and i should probably meet some voters. >> to your point, yes, and i think -- >> michael, at some point
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doesn't he have to get somebody in the party with kind of -- not somebody, several somebodies in the party coming out and saying, you're our guy. >> why? why do i need someone from capitol hill to pont tif indicate to say i'm agood guy -- >> you need a chris christie type figure coming out. >> only to the extent he wants to counteract what they are saying against him. he doesn't need to say i'm the candidate who has all of these washington endorsements. >> speak gs of -- >> you could do with a couple of governors around the country. >> speaking of washington endoers. s in capitol hill, two highly anticipated appearance, john corps zi azine and eric holder, talk about that next. with the capital one venture card we get double miles on every purchase. so we earned a holiday trip to the big apple twice as fast! dinner!
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two big names on capitol hill testifying about two major controversies. former senator jon corzine and the collapse of mf global and eric holder and the controversial fast and furious program. joining us cnbc managing editor tyler mathison. >> nice to be with you all. >> the first question is, it sounds like jon corzine has not taken -- not testifying as yet but will be doing so that matter of minutes or hours. i wonder what, you know, did -- the question did corzine use customer funds to cover bad bets on european debt? >> that is an issue here. he has maintained in a statement that he has submitted to the committee that he knew nothing about the misappropriation of customer moneys to cover operating expenses or to make good on trading losses that he
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does accept responsibility for, the trading losses specifically. but he says he knew nothing about any movement of moneys from customer accounts to cover either operating expenses or losses in the corporations' trading positions. he says money may have been moved. he concedes that when he resigned after he resigned in -- on the day or day after the company went bankrupt that there might have been the movement of moneys, but he says i knew nothing about that, i was out of the picture by then. >> that's an awful lot of money to not know the whereabouts of or so it seems to me. >> it's very curious they have not and he says in his prepared statement that he has no idea where the money is. it's very easy to question that. i've never been a ceo of a company but you have to understand he is testifying under oath. he knows when he says that and
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puts it in congressional testimony, that if is later proven to be untrue and in fact he did know where this money was moving, he will face perjury charges and potentially go to jail. he also knows that he testifies under the cloud of being the target of potentially criminal investigations and certainly civil litigation against him. so that's another risk he has. and the third thing is, if he knew where the money was, he would save himself and the trustees a heck of a lot of time and anxiety by saying here's where the money is. so it's easy to say, how could he not have known on the other hand, why would he say that under the jeopardy that he faces if it weren't the case? >> tyler, it's katty kay he have a broader question about what mf global was doing. there was nothing illegal by taking a big bet on european debt, although it might seem
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curious to bet ha hard on something so unstable. the fact he could do so with such a low capitalization rate, what are we, nearly four years after the crash of 2008? i mean, that seems to me extraordinary. >> it is and the level of leverage that apparently was at play here was the kind of level that existed obtained during the lehman years and bear-stearns years where they are leveraged 40 to 1 on money. he says they in fact reduced the leverage that they had in play. we'll find out more about that when he is actually called to the witness table in a few minutes. but there was a big bet on european debt and what gets these guys in trouble time and again, katty, is the idea that they know better than the market. and mr. corzine presumably because he had been a u.s. senator, a governor of a major
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american state, felt that he had some insight into the ability of these european sovereign debt issuers to make good on debts that others didn't have. i think maybe maybe his background as a master trader from his days at goldman sachs that led him to extend mf global the way he did. >> thank you for joining us on this segment, we appreciate it. i want to pivot back to the other high profile testimony happening today, eric holder who will talk about operation fast and furious which is a gun running operation happening on the u.s./mexico border. we have news from "the new york times" about money laundering by dea officials. the question is the bush administration had similar programs in place, at least in terms of fast and furious and there's been a contention by those on the left that that is a witch hunt for attorney general eric holder.
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>> no, no witch hunt. the facts are the facts. i think that's part of the problem here that the administration appears to at least the justice department appears to be either ignoring circumventing or denying those facts. what the attorney general knew and when he knew is a prominent piece here. i think that's something that when not addressed up front and directly in the beginning and then having that undermined by e-mails and other documents -- >> there's been a lot of back and forth. >> creates a perception that there's more to it than there may or may not be and that's a problem. >> i should disclose my wife works for the justice department, not on fast and furious, has nothing to do with that. there has been a bungling or fumbling -- either one -- of the public aspect relations of this. and i think you're right that it is worthy of investigation primarily because an agent was killed. we should get to the bottom of that. however, i think people tend to
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be overreading the nef air yus nature of what eric holder and the justice department were doing here. their incentives were to try and find drug wars and that is an obvious objective for the department of justice. they were in some respects copy catting a program in place during the bush years. we're trying to cast doubt on their incentives with operating this program. i want to stress that this was actually -- objective of the program was a laudible, it just got out of hand and there should have been more accountability. >> it was also the kind of program that begged to get out of hand. once you start allowing guns to go back across the border into mexico -- >> to but the take away from this i think is the broader, the broader takeaway is, how problemed and how questionable our war on drugs is and that it
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really begs for reassessment. we'll have all of this and more to talk about after the break. coming up, the man who called the summer debt deal, a sugar coated sat an sandwich. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] indulge all you want. now there's no need to hold back. ♪ new revolutionary scope with dualblast technology obliterates strong food odors and kills bad breath germs leaving your breath minty fresh. hey. sorry i'm late, baby. i bet you're starving. [ male announcer ] so there's no trace of evidence... hey, i thought i did the dishes. [ male announcer ] blast away strong food odors and bad breath germs with new scope dualblast. also, try crest complete extra white
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when lawmakers reached a de deal this summer, the missouri democrat joins us now from capitol hill. congressman cleaver thanks for joining the program. >> thank you. >> we talked you about how the rhetoric has changed from deficit cutting to income inequality. i wonder, you are there on the hill and i wonder to what degree lawmakers are really talking about the disparty in health between upper and middle and
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lower income classes. >> it's important to understand that here on capitol hill an ounce of ideology is worth a ton of facts. so we're not going to have people speaking to the issues being discussed. we usually have fact free discussion here on capitol hill. but where we are now, which is sad, is that as we're moving toward the christmas holidays, most of the members are practicing their religion, which is confusionism. and i think that we're going to see that unemployment insurance benefits as well as the payroll holiday are going to be extended. i don't think people can leave with -- without doing something on that. but i think that the country is
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probably confused also over the fact that we are putting more emphasis on things than people. and they are -- look, we have five unemployed for every one job opening in this country. that means that we are in the midst of a crisis, a disaster. so even if we're -- it's costing money, we've got to respond to the disaster. so there's a lot going on here on capitol hill but it's almost like a rocking chair, a lot of motion but going nowhere. >> confusionism, i think is my favorite phrase of the day. i know you're chair of the congressional black caucus, as we talk about income inequality in the country, what has happened to african-americans and latinos in terms of their wealth cratering during the recession, you look at black unemployment and the joblessness rates, and yet you have candidates for president like newt gingrich on the campaign
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trail saying, poor children don't know -- they grow up in communities where nobody knows about working, they don't understand what paychecks are. i wonder how much you think that rhetoric -- what you think of that rhetoric, especially given the statistics we have today and reality in urban areas for much of the working poor, as it were? >> well, i grew up in public housing. my 89-year-old father was here in washington this past week. we both rese that. you know, there are a lot of democrats who are celebrating the idea of newt gingrich receiving the republican nomination but with rhetoric like that, my fear is that even though i think everybody will admit that race relations are not quite where they ought to be, i think if we go through a season of campaigning where those kinds of statements are uttered. i don't see any benefit to this country. in fact, it frightens me. and so it's an attack on poor
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people. mr. gingrich probable ly a goodd decent man, i don't know him. probably never been in the projects, public housing. he's probably never -- couldn't call the name of a single poor person who lives in public housing or one poor child. so he's not speaking experience shally, he's speaking idealogically, and that's unfortunate. i thought that was gone but obviously it's not. >> congressman, this is michael steele, good to see you again. i hope you're well. >> how are you, i'm good. >> quick question for you, at what point should the payroll holiday be lifted and at that point, would you and your colleagues consider that a tax increase on the middle class? >> well, look, there's going to be a pay for. there's no question about it. i think both democrats and republicans want a pay for. and there are a number of proposals that have been brought forth. some of them i don't like but
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you know, it's not going to be a tax -- what will be a tax is that if it's not extended because people will then end up paying a tax they are not paying today. so i don't think you'll hear anybody say that they will not be a pay for for the payroll tax holiday. >> congressman, one last topic i wanted to talk to you about, the voter i.d. laws we're seeing enacted in states across the country and implications from black and poor and minority and elderly voters. you've said that you think of that as turning back to ugly periods with discrimination was common place. >> yes. >> i wonder, has there been -- do you think there's any chance that the national discussion turns the other way on this? that some of these laws may get turned back? there will be in effect a backlash to what the state governors are trying to do? >> we hope that all of the people of goodwill in this country will come to the
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conclusion that the united states cannot tolerate that kind of blot on its politics. we are pushing for democracy in iraq and afghanistan and in northern africa. and yet at home we're trying to discourage people from voting. i come from a family where the men tend to live a long time. my great grandpa lived to be 103. as we're looking at our history, we can find no records of him voting. he lived in texas where he had to pay a poll tax and pass a literacy test. what we should be doing is moving as far as we can away from anything that would jeopardize voting. so you know, hopefully the people will put pressure on these governors and state legislature to stop it. >> congressman emanuel cleaver, thanks for being with us. >> good to join you.
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>> a plan b for the plan b pill, that's next on "now." i'm chuck todd, coming up on "andrea mitchell reports." president obama hits republicans on the hill and campaign trail. we'll break down the latest war of words there. what he said about kathleen sebelius's decision. romney ready to rumble with newt? our press secretary joins us. we'll see you at the top of the hour for "andrea mitchell reports." that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm [ male announcer ] for half the calories -- plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. nice, huh? yeah. you know what else is nice is all the savings you can get on cruze and traverse over there. oh! that's my beard. [ chuckles ]
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so you can avoid the distraction of mid-morning hunger. no thanks, i'm good.
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we've got some breaking news, virginia tech sent out an alert of gunshots being reported on campus at the coliseum parking lot. the college is advising people to stay inside and lock their doors. we'll be following that through the hour. i want to get back to a subject
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we talked about before the break which is the plan b pill. today secretary of health and human services overruled a decision by the fda that would have made the morning after contraceptive pill available to women under the age of 17 without a prescription. and a lot of analysis here says this is a political move by the administration to court religious conservatives in election year. i wonder what you make of that? >> the president clearly came out in favor of kathleen sebelius, he said as a father of two daughters, he didn't think it was appropriate to be giving the morning after pill to girls of that age. he wasn't sure they would be able to handle it properly and clearly siding with sebelius on this. our religious conservatives radically going to go for obama because of this? i can't believe they are suddenly going to switch in his favor. i think it's more -- >> the thing it doesn't get them riled up.
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it keeps them at bay when you could have had an issue on your hands. >> it neutralizes it. >> let's keep in mind obama won 9% more of the catholic vote than john mccain did in 2008. >> i think it goes, it's easy to put it in that religious conservative box as if independent men and women out there don't have a view on the subject that would align with those who you put in the independent conservative box. you've got to think a little bit more broadly here. you're talking about young girls, under a certain age, 16. where parents still feel they have some control and say or should have some control or say regardless of their political ideology about what happens to their daughter and what they are supposed to. i think the president rightly is sensitive to that knowing there could be a residual backlash. >> it's interesting now you say that and thing about what happened with rick perry over the hpv virus mandate in texas and how much of a fuss that
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caused with parents. there is something about parental control here. >> we always in d.c., we have this instinct to talk about the politics of everything, but, this is a president who came in and said i'm going to be a president that respects science and i'm going to not put my he in the sand just because i don't want to hear what scientific consensus has. and the fda did an extensive study of this issue and determined it was in the best interest to actually allow people under the age of 16 to buy it over the counter and kathleen sebelius says you haven't studied it for 11-year-olds. i think it is a broken promise by obama to be a president of science. if you go against it, you have to be accountable for that. >> but the politics dictates -- >> certainly a topic that will go into the health care law and provisions, that's a debate that will continue. we have to wrap it there. let's go to chris jansing for more on the breaking news out of virginia tech. >> thank you very much. what we do know at this point.
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there has been a message sent out. it's an alert that is sent out to students for report of gun violence -- gunshots fired on the campus of virginia tech at the coliseum parking lot. and that advisory is telling people to stay inside and to lock their doors. of course, the reason this is causing even more concern than it might normally is the fact that virginia tech was the site of a massacre, 32 people killed, 25 wounded in a school shooting that took place in april of 2007. this is in blacks burg virginia, it was two separate attacks on that day. and it was also the worst act of mass murder on college students since syracuse university, 36 students lost in the pan-am bombing of flight 103. we're starting to get information in about exactly what happened. we do have a description of the alleged shooter, a white male,
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wearing gray sweat pants, a great hat with neon green brim, a maroon hoody and back pack. he apparently fled that scene on foot. what we don't have a description of is exactly what kind of weapons he might have or if there were multiple weapons. we don't know exactly the layout of that campus. the advicery that has gone out says he went on forward towards mccomb as, whether that's the name of a hall or street, i'm not sure. i'm not that familiar with the virginia tech campus. but again, what happened at the time was that there were concerns about alerts being sent out to the students, so there you see on your screen that alert. the report of the shots fired and the initial description that went out that we just read to you. you see the very last line there of that description call 911. they want people to stay inside the buildings that they are in,
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the doors should be locked. if anyone sees anything, they need them to call school officials rights now. as i was saying before, one of the concerns and a lot of colleges revisited their policies after the virginia tech shooting in 2007, is with social media, with the ability to text students, to send them information on their phones, on their blackberrys, did enough information get out quickly enough? and should there -- there's a fine line in many cases for these university officials about when they should send something like that out, whether or not they are causing undue panic. obviously an abundance of caution is the decision that is always going to be made in a situation like this. reports of shots fired on the campus of virginia tech. and again, we don't know if anybody is injured. we don't know if anyone has been
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fatally wounded. all we know is the reports of these shots being fired. now in the case back in 2007, you may recall this opened up another whole can of worms about whether or not someone who is considered to be a mentally unstable individual was allowed to have firearms. it was another impact of what happened there. the shooter was identified as a 23-year-old south korean citizen with permanent residence status who was an undergrad at virginia tech and lived in a hall there. he was on campus student there in a dormitory. we don't know anything about this alleged suspect, except the description that came to us drektdly directly from officials at virginia tech. let me tell you what that description is. he is described as a white male, in gray sweat pants and gray hat with green neon brim and maroon
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hoody and back pack and he is on foot. what apparently started as a shooting at a parking lot there, now it does appear that the suspect has left that area. the school sent out a notice and is essentially on lockdown telling people to stay in their rooms, to lock their doors. and i'm sure that there is a huge police presence now dexrending on that campus at virginia tech. again, they went through a very thorough review after that massacre that happened in april of 2007. they put a lot of new practices in place, a lot of new safeguards in place, including this system that let's students know exactly what happens when they run into a situation like this. you can bet that the vast majority of the students in some sort of device that they have, again whether it's a cell phone or blackberry or it's on their laptop. they've gotten this message. this
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